The growth rate of COVID‐19 cases and deaths was higher for U.S. metropolitan areas that exhibited greater Black and white or Hispanic and white segregation, a new University of Michigan study shows.

Some minority groups have contracted the virus disproportionately more during the pandemic, and both residential segregation and the absence of wealth contributed to the spread, according to the study.

Overall, the United States has suffered exceptionally in the last year, leading the world in both infections and deaths through January 2021. Systemic racism may explain, in part, why the country did so poorly in coping with the pandemic, said Qinggang Yu, the study’s lead author and psychology doctoral student.

U-M researchers sought to understand how two structural features of metropolitan areas—racial residential segregation and income inequality—have increased COVID-19 fatalities since they contribute to health‐compromising conditions.

“These two features, when combined, may be particularly lethal,” said Yu, who along with colleagues examined the growth rate of confirmed COVID‐19 cases and deaths in the 100 largest metropolitan areas from Jan. 22 to June 20, 2020, before the second nationwide outbreak began.

Read the full article at Michigan News.